Murderer’s battle with the bottle

A SUPREME court has heard a murderer’s long-term battle with alcohol contributed to his actions during a violent attack in Armidale.

Cecil Briggs, 43, said he had been fighting his alcohol addiction for many years, adding he knew he wouldn’t be in custody for murder if he wasn’t intoxicated on the day of a violent attack in Armidale.

Douglas Bindley, 47, died in hospital two days after the attack in his Brown St unit in Armidale in December, 2012.

The 43-year-old pleaded guilty to murder earlier this week – two weeks into his murder trial in Armidale Supreme Court.

“Are you an alcoholic?” his defence barrister asked.

“Yeah, I’m an alcoholic,” Briggs replied.

Armidale Supreme Court was told Briggs started drinking when he was 16 or 17-years-old, and had completed three stints in rehabilitation centres to get help.

“The evidence is that ‘you got on the grog’ that day if I can say that,” the defence asked.

“That’s correct, yeah,” Briggs said.

The father of six children was living in Urunga and travelled with his family to Armidale about four or five days before the attack because his mother was sick in hospital.

Briggs had run into an old friend whom he used to play football against and started drinking on December 24, 2012.

Briggs, who left high school in year nine, told the court he went to Mr Bindley’s house because he wanted somewhere to go and none of his friends were drinking.

He recounted how he had known “Dougie” for a “good while ... 20 odd years.”

“You weren’t angry with him,” the defence asked.

“Nah,” Briggs replied.

“As far as you’re concerned he started this,” the defence asked.

“Yeah,” Briggs said.

The defence then questioned at what point during the trial did Briggs realise he “might have gone too far,” before he admitted it was during the evidence of a forensic pathologist who had recounted the bruising to the body.

“You understand you wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the grog,” the defence asked.

“Yeah,” Briggs said.

Briggs remains in custody and will be sentenced next month.

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